Tigers Open Home Schedule With Win Over Otterbein

Photo by Erin Pence

Ryan Spitzer won 11 of his 18 face-offs to spark the Tigers to an 11-8 victory over Otterbein.

Photo by Erin Pence

SPRINGFIELD, Ohio - Wittenberg overcame a 4-1 second-quarter deficit with nine unanswered goals en route to an 11-8 non-conference victory over Otterbein in the Tigers' 2014 home opener.

The win moved the Tigers to 5-1 on the season and built some much-needed momentum for the second half of the season, which starts with a key North Coast Athletic Conference (NCAC) road game against Kenyon on Saturday, March 22. Otterbein fell to 3-2 on the campaign.

After the Tigers got on the board first thanks to a goal by junior Sean Kelleher (Lake Forest, Ill./Lake Forest) in the first quarter, Otterbein responded with four straight tallies to seemingly take control of the game. But after the Cardinals' scored just 24 seconds in the second quarter, it was all Wittenberg for the next 30 minutes as the Tigers rallied for nine consecutive goals.

That changed a 4-1 deficit into a commanding 10-4 lead early in the fourth quarter. Otterbein rallied to scored four goals in the fourth quarter, but the Tigers were able to hold, thanks in large part to the fine play between the pipes of junior goalkeeper Jay Dolan (Andover, Mass./Phillips Andover), who made 15 saves in the game.

At the other end, senior Jack Bornhofen (Peachtree City, Ga./McIntosh) and sophomore Andrew Fuss (New Albany, Ohio/Gahanna Lincoln) led the way with three goals apiece. Kelleher, junior Matt Hugdahl (Eden Prairie, Minn./Eden Prairie), senior Jordan Shoger (Cleveland Heights, Ohio/Cleveland Heights), junior Will Stocker (Cincinnati, Ohio/Turpin) and junior Ryan Spitzer (Lincolnshire, Ill./Stevenson) added one tally each.

Assists were credited to freshman Zach Shy (Columbus, Ohio/Upper Arlington) and sophomore Thomas Fuss (New Albany, Ohio/Gahanna Lincoln), who recorded a trio of helpers for the Tigers, who outshot Otterbein 41-32 and picked up 27 ground balls to the Cardinals' 20.

Stocker's effort, where he fought his way through three defenders for a most unlikely goal, and Spitzer's performance, particularly on face-offs, were of particular note. Spitzer won 11 of his 18 face-offs, led both teams with six ground balls and added an unassisted score as part of the Tigers' nine-goal outburst.